The Shanghai Evening post sent a reporter into the Foxconn factory in Tai Yuan, China to pretend he was a new worker. His 10 days at the factory has been published as a diary, exposing the inside story of making the iPhone 5.
The Tai Yuan factory is known from the March workers’ strike, in addition to needing 20,000 extra workers to fulfill orders from Apple for the new iPhone 5, which is expected to be announced tomorrow at a special Apple event in San Francisco.
According to the Shanghai Evening Post, the reporter went through an extensive seven day orientation,which includes a form that all workers must sign to state that there are no environmental hazards. He began to work on the production line for the iPhone 5 on day eight. He was only able to stay two more days, due to the poor working conditions.
After an exhaustive seven day orientation, on the eighth day of work, the reporter is sent to the TOP SECURITY AREA to work on the iPHone 5. A metal detector screens all employees, with a warning that any metal detected will result in immediate termination. The factory floor smells of plastic, and the sound of heavy manufacturing machines dominate the area. The team is warned to only do what they are told, and they should be honored to have the chance to produce the new iPhone 5.
“Our line is being assigned to use masking tapes and plastic stoppers to cover up the earphone jack and the connector ports of the back plate in order to prevent the paint from being sprayed onto it on the next process,” he writes for the Shanghai Evening Post. “I’m being assigned to mark placement points on the iPhone 5 back-plate using an oil-based paint pen. I’m being scolded many times for spilling too much oil on the markings. My roommate has being assigned to paste the masking tapes of not more than 5mm wide on the right spots that I have marked. And he has being scolded many times for pasting them too slow.”
The reporter has also been told that his job was supposed to be assigned to female workers, due to their more nimble fingers, but that Foxconn couldn’t find enough female workers to fill all the roles needed.
“An iPhone 5 back-plate run through in front of me almost every 3 seconds,” he writes. “I have to pickup the back-plate and marked 4 position points using the oil-based paint pen and put it back on the running belt swiftly within 3 seconds with no errors. After such repeat action for several hours, I have terrible neckache and muscle pain on my arm. A new worker who sat opposite of me gone exhausted and laid down for a short while. The supervisor has noticed him and punished him by asking him to stand at one corner for 10 minutes like the old school days. We worked non-stop from midnight to the next morning 6 a.m but were still asked to keep on working as the production line is based on running belt and no one is allowed to stop. I’m so starving and fully exhausted.”
The reporter calculates that he must mark five iPhone 5 back plates every minute, at minimum. He has to do this non-stop for his entire shift. His goal is 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates every 5 hours.
“There are total 4 production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in every line,” he writes. “Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?”
These are the conditions that are in effect to produce the iPhone 5, at least at the Foxconn plant in China. Perhaps we can all think of the men and women that endure a situation that no one would tolerate here in the US when we pre-order our new iPhone 5 devices over the next couple of days.
Source: MIC Gadget